Category Archives: General News

Mayors, Instagram Influencers, and Fake Plastic Trees

Welcome to your April 2019 Keeper’s Report from your Charleston Waterkeeper! This month we weave together a few local mayors, an Instagram influencer or two, and Radiohead’s Fake Plastic Trees. And, we do it all for clean water. Read on to find out how (or if) we’ll pull it off . . .

Ban on bans

Bad news: on April 4 the ban on bans got a favorable report in subcommittee. It still has to go through the full Labor, Commerce, and Industry Committee, and then get an up or down vote on the Senate floor all before Wednesday, April 10th. That’s an uphill climb, but we’re not out of the woods yet—contact your Senator today and ask them to oppose the ban on bans!

Post and Courier: Plastic bag bans survive–for now–as SC lawmakers take more study time

Meanwhile, in local news, Publix, Harris Teeter, and Walmart are all ready to comply ahead of the April 16 deadline when the Town of Mount Pleasant’s ban takes effect. That’s great news! And, it goes a long way toward making your rivers and creeks cleaner and healthier.

Post and Courier: Publix, Harris Teeter grocers go plastic-less ahead of Mount Pleasant plastic bag ban


Floodwater is polluted water

BREAKING: the greater Charleston area is growing. Acre by acre, development is re-plumbing the Lowcountry with ponds, pipes, and outfalls. We see the consequences of that every day—flooding, contaminated fish, plastic pollution, closed oyster beds, and unsafe water quality after rainstorms. More on that in:

Yale Environment 360: As high-tide flooding worsens, more pollution is washing into the sea

Post and Courier: Charleston floodwaters are crawling with unsafe levels of poop bacteria

Our rivers and harbor are speaking to us, folks. The only question is: will we listen?

Love a local mayor!

On March 20 Mayor Tecklenberg, Mayor Haynie, Councilman Owens, Mayor Goodwin, and Mayor Carroll all made the trip to Columbia to testify against the ban on bans and stand up for you and your waterways. Any way you slice it, that’s awesome! We are very proud of these guys and you should be too. Say thank you the next time you see them around town (or hit the links above)!


Roast like a pro

Oyster roast season is almost over. But, there’s still time to learn to roast like a local! Beer cans, oysters knives, hot sauce bottles, swag, saltine wrappers, and plastic condiment cups don’t go in the oyster barrel. Shell only. DNR staffers and volunteers have to separate all that trash from the shell before it can be recycled back into your waterways to make new oysters and new habitat. Help ‘em out!

Boots on the water: see what it’s like to build an oyster reef with 600 bags of clean shell

The Real World

If you’re like us, you get tired of Instagram influencers, orange tiles, and cheese sandwiches. We prefer real people doing real things in the real world. So let’s put down our keyboards and phones and get together:

4/8 CultivateSciArt: make some art and learn from our scientist Cheryl Carmack about why Charleston is a #1 city with #2 problems.

4/9 The Devil We Know: this film will open your eyes to a class of chemicals that’s in our local dolphins and in each one of us. Don’t miss this screening with the College of Charleston’s Department of Geology and Environmental Geosciences, the Masters of Environmental Studies Program, and Office of Sustainability.

4/11 Drink for the CAWS with Cooper River Brewing Company: come grab a beer, meet your hard working Charleston Waterkeeper team and let’s talk clean water.

4/13 & 4/14 High Water Festival: stop by our tent and say hello! We’ll have lots of great gear to support the CAWS, a fun surprise, and of course, plenty of #tipsforcleanwater!

4/22 Earth Day Cleanup with Free Fly: don’t just like a few Earth Day posts, get outside and do something good for you waterways!

4/27 Ashley River Cleanup with Magnolia Plantation and Gardens: this cleanup is in a very special section of the Ashley River that needs some love. Join us and our friends at Magnolia Plantation and Gardens to help restore this historic section of river!


Fake Plastic Trees!

We found Thom Yorke’s fake plastic tree in Filbin Creek! We’re still missing his shopping cart though. No wait, we found that in our last Filbin Creek cleanup! Goofiness aside, a huge thank you to Rheos for sponsoring our 2019 Kickoff to Spring Clean in Filbin Creek at Hendricks Park (they make floating sunglasses, no, really, check ’em out). Forty-five volunteers braved the cold on the first day of Spring to make a big impact for clean water. Filbin Creek didn’t disappoint—we removed almost 1 ton of debris in under two hours!

Click here: cool pictures of happy and hard-working volunteers

Big thank you to Toadfish Outfitters, Flood Tide Co., Carolina Surf Brand, Healthy Human, and Yoloha Yoga Factory for all the great gear donated for our raffle! Interested in sponsoring a cleanup, water quality testing, marine pumpouts, or other Charleston Waterkeeper program?

Let’s talk:

That’s a wrap, folks . . .

Make sure you’re following all the action as we fight for cleaner, healthier waterways for your community: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram. Ready to upgrade? Hit the following link and become a supporter today!

Truth, Chickens, and Sporobolus

Welcome to your March 2019 Keeper’s Report from Charleston Waterkeeper! This past month we learned the chickens really are in charge, Spartina is Sporobolus, and, unlike Mark Twain, plastic lobbyists always have to remember what they said. Jump in and find out why . . .

Truth be told!

The ban on bans was up for an important subcommittee hearing in the SC Senate last week. The room was so packed the subcommittee didn’t get through all the testimony. Your Waterkeeper didn’t get to testify, but don’t worry he’ll be back in Columbia on March 20 to tell the truth about what’s in, what’s out, and why. Be sure to send a thank you to Mayor Haynie and Mayor Carroll for making the trip and standing up for your waterways!

Make your voice heard: Ask the Regulatory & Local Government to oppose the ban on bans

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Free pollution

Plastic pollution is everywhere from the drinking water at the Statehouse in Columbia to the bottom of the Mariana Trench in the Pacific Ocean. Yet the lobbyists claim local plastic bans are “out of control” and create a confusing patchwork for consumers and businesses. Don’t be distracted. They just want to pollute for free. What’s really at stake is who should bear the cost of plastic pollution. Should it be the manufacturers that profit from it or the communities left to deal with the consequences?

Take action: Ask your SC Senator to oppose the ban on bans

Stono River Blues

If you leave the chickens in charge things get done! A couple of James Island chickens supervised the Number 2’s haul out, fuel pump repair, and bottom scrape. She’s safely back at City Marina and ready to resume providing marine pumpouts to keep your waterways poop free. We’re glad the Number 2 is running again. Thank you for bearing with us as we got her fuel issues sorted out!

Bottom line: Chicken’s are helpful, but boats are expensive. Help keep your waterways poop free by making a donation today.

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Sporobolus Street?

Apparently, our beloved Spartina salt marsh grass isn’t really Spartina at all. It’s actually a different species all together called Sporobolus. Sporobolus!?!? We’ll need to rename a lot of neighborhoods, dental offices, and lifestyle brands now. Let’s just hope they don’t come for our palmetto trees next. Then we’re in real trouble.

Simply put: Spartina Forever!

DNR record

A few weeks ago 87 Charleston Waterkeeper volunteers bagged 1,730 bags of oyster shell and planted 2,030 Spartina (not Sporobolus) seedlings in 2 hours. Those 1,730 bags set a DNR SCORE program record! Thanks to Dylan Schmitz (@dylanschmitz) for documenting!

Check it: Saturday, Feb 23 Shell Bagging

Join us and help put ‘em back:

No excuses!

We hustle hard for your rivers and creeks, in, on, and out of the water, so it can be tough to nail us down. If you’re gonna try here’s where to find us in March:

3/9 Ashley River Cleanup

Don’t miss this epic cleanup on your Waterkeeper’s favorite stretch of the Ashley River. We’ve partnered up with a great group including Summerville Saltwater Anglers, Dorchester County, Lowcountry Land Trust, American Rivers, and Keep Dorchester County Beautiful. The Ashley will be in a lot better shape when we’re done!

3/9 McKevlin’s Spring Surf Social

Get stoked! Our friends and McKevlin’s are hosting the Spring Surf Social with a Bing surfboard raffle to help support clean water! Grab some gumbo, meet local shapers from Grasshopper, Hoke Surfboards, and Paul Martin Surfboards, drink a Revelry beer, and swap some surf gear. Your Waterkeeper will also be on hand to talk story. Guaranteed good time!


3/13 Shell Sorting with DNR

That hole in the oyster roast table isn’t for trash. It’s for recycling oyster shells. Tell your friends! Until we all get the hang of it we’re helping DNR remove trash and debris from recycled shell so it doesn’t end up in your rivers and creeks.

3/14 Protect your Wetlands at Drink for the CAWS

Like wetlands? Hate seeing them destroyed and lost forever? Come out to Holy City Brewing for a chance to tell the EPA and the Trump Administration what you think of their effort to strip longstanding protections from Carolina Bays and Cypress Ponds. Your Waterkeeper and our friends at Southern Environmental Law Center will be on hand to help you speak up for clean water! #standup #showup #notonourwatch

3/16 Oyster Reef Construction with DNR SCORE

We’ve produced more than 3,500 bags of shell so far this year! Now it’s time to start putting it to work by getting it all into the water to start growing new oysters. Many hands make light work when building oyster reefs. You’ll like this one, we promise!

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3/20 Rheos presents: 2019 Kickoff Spring Clean

Join Rheos gear and Charleston Waterkeeper for a cleanup at Hendrick’s Park in North Charleston. Never heard of Hendrick’s Park? Come on out and help us clean it up. You’ll be glad you did. Afterwards, join us for a beer with our friends at Revelry Brewing!

3/30 Wando River Marsh Cleanup with Keep Charleston Beautiful

We’ve been after this spot for a while now. We’re glad the stars have aligned with our friends at Keep Charleston Beautiful. Now if the weather just holds out this time . . . .

Until next time . . .

Don’t miss the fun. Follow along on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram or better yet come out and meet us in the real world.

Poop, Plastic Lobbyists, Oyster Shells

Welcome to your January 2019 Keeper’s Report from Charleston Waterkeeper! After a hiatus in 2018, the Keeper’s Report is back in a fresh new format. Pollution doesn’t sleep so neither do we. Buckle up, we’ve had a lot of coffee . . .

They’re Back!

The ban on bans is back in your South Carolina General Assembly. It’s the same DC think-tank bill plastic lobbyists push in states all over the country. After failing the last 3 years to pass it here, it’s back again, and this time it doesn’t grandfather in local bans already in place. That might be fine up in DC but it’s not right for our local communities. We stand with Charleston, Mount Pleasant, James Island, Isle of Palms, Folly Beach, and Sullivan’s Island.

Act Now: Ask your SC Senator to do the same and oppose bill S.394.

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Hollywood digests sewer deal

This month Charleston Water System proposed a plan to help Hollywood get out from under its failing sewer system. After years of neglect and small spills, Hollywood spilled 10 million gallons of sewage into the Stono River last January. The spill shut down oyster harvesting from the Harbor to the North Edisto River. Since then, we’ve tracked this issue very closely to ensure Hollywood sewer problems get fixed and stay fixed.

Brass tacks: The CWS plan is a good deal for the Town of Hollywood, it’s citizens, your Stono River, and local oystermen.

Volunteer gets dirty, likes it

Cooler weather means it’s Volunteer Corp time! We’re putting folks just like you in the marsh and knee deep in mud for clean water. It’s a lot of fun! You should join for a volunteer event (or five). Still not sure the Volunteer Corp is for you? See what you’re missing:

Oyster bagging with DNR’s SCORE program and Lowcountry Land Trust

Oyster shell recycling at the Lowcountry Oyster Festival with Coastal Conservation Association and Lowcountry Land Trust

Get wet and muddy: sign up for a volunteer event today

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If it looks like a duck, swims like a duck . . .

And it quacks like a duck, it’s probably in a local wetland that could lose protection under the EPA’s effort to gut the established definition of “Waters of the United States.” There’s a lot political rhetoric around this one–don’t get distracted. Underneath it all, it’s a bad idea for our waterways. Estimates show that up to 70% of South Carolina’s wetlands could lose protection. With no state or local protections in place, it would make it much easier to destroy these special places forever.

Soggy feet: We set up a visit to local cypress/tupelo pond to show the Post and Courier just what’s at stake if this bad idea moves forward.

Abandoned boats at half mast

Abandoned boats plague our harbor, rivers, and creeks. They’re eyesores and they damage salt marsh and oyster bed habitat. Last year we worked on a few tweaks to South Carolina’s laws governing abandoned boats. Now local Representative Peter McCoy reintroduced a bill that will give local law enforcement more authority to take on the problem when the state fails or declines to act.

Bottom line: It’s a great idea and one we fully support! Now we need a few funding sources . . .

Opinion: from the Post and Courier’s Editorial Board last year “We have to do something about abandoned boats.”


Lets get social for real

Likes, hearts, reactions, clicks, emails, scroll . . . blah, blah, blah. Let’s grab a beer and meet in the real world at a Drink for the CAWS event:

2/7 Ghost Monkey Brewery

3/14 Holy City Brewery with Southern Environmental Law Center

4/11 Cooper River Brewing Company

5/9 Munkle Brewing Company

6/13 Charles Towne Fermentory

Don’t miss out: add Drink for the CAWS to your calendar

For your eyeballs: come see Charleston Waterkeeper (and a bunch of great outdoor films) at MountainFilm in February.

THANK YOU to Blue Ion and Groundswell PR for hosting a screening of Patagonia’s film Blue Heart to benefit our work! Key take away: “You don’t need to be a Waterkeeper to take care of your favorite river. You just need to be a human with a voice.”

There’s always a lot happening at Charleston Waterkeeper! Don’t miss the fun. Make sure you stay up-to-date by following on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.


We’re excited to announce that our friends at Bottles Beverage Superstore in Mt. Pleasant have just launched their Brew Good, Do Good campaign! Now through Labor Day weekend, a portion of sales from EVERY Freehouse Brewing crowler or growler purchase will be donated to Charleston Waterkeeper.

Enjoy great local beer while supporting a great cause! Visit their Mt. Pleasant store today to see what Freehouse beers are on tap at the growler station and pick up a growler or crowler of your favorite. Cheers! 


With core values founded in fostering community, High Water Festival announces today the return of its successful Earned Ticket Program, which provided more than 3,000 service hours in 2017 for the festival’s three Charleston, SC-based charity partners: Charleston Waterkeeper, Green Heart Project, and Water Mission. The program, designed to give back in a meaningful way to the greater Charleston community, presents opportunities for those interested in attending High Water to complete a set number of community service hours—specifically for one of the festival’s charitable partners—as an alternate way to earn a ticket to the event weekend, Saturday and Sunday, April 21-22 at Riverfront Park in North Charleston.

More details about the Earned Ticket Program are coming on Friday. Be the first to know – sign up for our newsletter today!